Category: Prop A 2017

Proposition A Has Been Defeated

ThankYouVotersThank You St. Louis City Voters for defeating Proposition A Body Cam Scam

51.6% to 48.4%
(60% needed to pass a Charter Amendment)

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Prop A is Unconstitutional

Prop A seeks to abolish the Office of Recorder of Deeds and immediately make the elected Recorder of Deeds an employee under the mayoral appointed Assessor for the remainder of her term of office. Prop A’s Initiative Petition/Ordinance states…

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The Missouri Constitution specifically requires an elected official to serve out the term, as in carry out the duties, and says changes cannot take place until the end of that term.
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Oddly enough, that Article VI, Section 32(b) is the section that State Senator Jamilah Nasheed often cites as legal basis to abolish the office.

Furthermore, under Missouri Statute, you cannot provide Recorder of Deeds services without an elected or appointed official named Recorder of Deeds. Every county must have a Recorder of Deeds.
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The Prop A Initiative Petition/Ordinance fails to name the Assessor as Recorder. It states..
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Prop A Fail: Recorder’s Records Preservation Fund Cannot Pay For Police Body Cameras

Proponents of Rex Sinquefield’s Proposition A cannot seem to settle on where is it that they are getting $1 Million from the Recorder of Deed’s Office for the imaginary $1 Million Police Body Cam program.

Earlier this week, Senator Jamilah Nasheed said the money would come from modernizing computers, apparently not understanding that the technology at the Recorder’s is not paid for by General Revenue.

Today on St. Louis On The Air, Senator Nasheed claimed body cameras could be funded with the Recorder of Deeds’s Preservation Fund. The account is separate from General Revenue and funded by a special fee dedicated under Section 59.319.1 RSMo to preservation-related activities of the Recorder’s Office.

While the City Recorder is best known for recording deeds, issuing marriage licenses, and providing Birth and Death Certificate copies, the Office is charged with conservation, preservation, and access for many more records, an extensive public records collection.

It appears that the Senator takes the constitutional provision giving City voters the right to “amend or revise its present charter to provide for the number, kinds, manner of selection, terms of office and salaries of its county officers” to mean that the City has a right to ignore all other constitutional provisions and statutes, which is does not.

League of Women Voters Voter Guide Gets Prop A Wrong

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Proposition A does not seek to “eliminate the elected position of recorder of deeds.” It seeks to eliminate the position of Recorder entirely. Without someone with the title “Recorder of Deeds” there can be no recorder services such as deed recording and marriage license issuance. Missouri law requires every county to have a Recorder.

The summary also states the ballot measure would move “some employees to the office of assessor” without saying that all employees would be retained as City employees. It implies that some Recorder employees would be laid off, a cost savings, which is not true. The Missouri Constitution specifically protects the City’s county employees during any consolidation of services.

And, again, there is neither a $1 Million cost savings from consolidating Assessor and Recorder offices, nor is there a Police Body Cam program that could operate on $1 Million alone.

There Is No $1 Million Dollar Police Body Camera Program

There is a $2.2-$1.4 Million per year Body Cam Plan.  There is no $1 Million Police Body Cam program on the table. Budget2

So, for starters, proponents are not even suggesting that this ballot issue will fully fund or even fund half of a Body Cam Program.

As for the alleged $1 Million cost savings from eliminating the Recorder of Deeds Office (which cannot be done under Missouri law) and moving Recorder services to Assessor without giving Assessor the title of Recorder (which cannot be done under Missouri law), even if this petition had been written correctly, there is no $1 Million cost savings.

The Recorder’s Budget is $2.8 Million. $2.5 Million of the budget is personnel. All staff of the Recorder would be retained as City employees under any consolidation of services affecting the office. It’s a constitutional protection.

The remaining $300,000 of the Recorder’s budget is copiers, paper goods (a primary function of Recorder is producing certified copies of deeds, marriage licenses, and other records in its care, which requires copiers and paper), and the $70,000 a year contract with State of Missouri to provide Birth and Death Certificate copies (which brings in $900,000 annual to City General Revenue).

Even in the imaginary world of Proposition A, there is only an imaginary $300,000 a year cost savings from eliminating an office you cannot eliminate and failing to to carry out statutory duties of recording deeds and issuing marriage licenses.

Waiting for the Rex Money

Still no big deposits to Make St. Louis Safe, Rex Sinquefield’s ballot issue committee for Proposition A. Of course, he has a dizzying array of other political action committees, so maybe we’re tracking the wrong one even though Make St. Louis Safe says it is for 4/4/2017 St. Louis City ballot measure.

And that name- Make St. Louis Safe- is such a joke. Proposition A has nothing to do with safety. It’s just a poorly written ballot issue to keep checks coming to consultants.

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Fact Checking a Prop A Supporter

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Question: Does State Health Department, or local Health Departments, in Missouri have any statutory jurisdiction to accept Applications for Marriage Licenses, issue Marriage Licenses, or issue certified copies of Marriage Licenses?

Answer: No. The State Health Department may verify that a marriage ceremony was recorded in a county. That’s it. If you want to apply for a Marriage License or get a certified copy  of your Marriage License- the legal document, you go to the Recorder of Deeds.

Question: Does Missouri Revised Statutes give County Collectors of Revenue the authority to engage in recording of land deeds and issuance of certified copies of land deeds?

Answer: No. Every Missouri County must have a Recorder of Deeds to perform Recorder services. Very small counties, however, are authorized to have a Circuit Clerk-Recorder office. But, having a separate, independent Recorder of Deeds is deemed so important in Missouri that, some years back, a special Statutory County Recorder’s Fund was created, a fee on recording transactions across Missouri, to assist small counties in separation of their Recorder and County Clerk functions. 

Question: Would combining the St. Louis City Recorder of Deeds Office/duties with another office result in cost savings adequate to fund even a 10th of a police body camera program?

Answer: No. The only cost savings would be the Recorder’s salary. It’s just a Body Cam Scam funded by Billionaire Rex Sinquefield.

Prop A Body Cam Scam’s Fuzzy Math

$2.2-$1.4 Million: Estimated Annual Cost of a Police Body Camera Pilot Program for SLMPD

$2.8 Million: FY17 Budget of Recorder of Deeds
88% of the Recorder’s Budget is Staff, employees protected by the Missouri Constitution from lay offs in a consolidation of services.

How does Prop A fund police body cameras?

It doesn’t.

Who Is Responsible For This Prop A Body Cam Scam Mess?

Easy enough to blame the money. Without Rex Sinquefield’s money, there would be no ballot issue. But the people who lent their names as the Committee of Petitioners share blame as well.

Hon. Jamilah Nasheed: 5th District Missouri Senator

Blake Lawrence: Chief Counsel to Senator Nasheed

Martin Casas: Krewson for Mayor; Rex Sinquefield’s Better Together; STL SwapMeet

Stephanie Lewis: Spokesperson for Rex Sinquefield’s NoETax campaign

Jennifer Florida: former Recorder of Deeds, former 15th Ward Alderwoman